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Family Research Council defends traditional marriage by bankrolling Republicans

80 GOP candidates collected contributions from PAC in 2012 cycle

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The Family Research Council, which filed briefs opposing same-sex marriage ahead of this week's high-profile U.S. Supreme Court cases, has become an increasingly popular source of campaign cash for conservative politicians.

During the 2012 election cycle, the Family Research Council's political action committee donated a combined $208,000 to 80 federal candidates, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

That's a roughly a two-and-a-half-fold increase from the group's giving during the 2010 election cycle, when it contributed $84,500 to a combined 33 federal candidates.

During 2008, when the PAC was created, it doled out a combined $13,000 to just eight candidates.

None of the candidates supported by the Family Research Council's PAC have been Democrats. 

On its website, the group says the money it collects will be "strategically used to support pro-family candidates and pro-family issues in elections and ballot initiatives around the country."

At the end of February, the PAC had about $56,000 in the bank, according to its most recent FEC filings. It has not yet made any political donations this year.

The Family Research Council is headed by former Louisiana state Rep. Tony Perkins. The PAC's president is Connie Mackey, a former lobbyist for the organization.

Supporters of gay rights have also recently been rallying their base, as the Center for Public Integrity previously noted.

In an amicus brief filed in support of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which the Supreme Court is reviewing today in United States v. Windsor, the Family Research Council argued that the government has "multiple, legitimate" interests in defining marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman.

Those interests include "promoting responsible procreation" and ensuring that children "will experience, whenever possible, the benefits of being raised in a household with both a mother and a father to whom the children are biologically related."

And in its amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California's Proposition 8, which the Supreme Court debated Tuesday, the Family Research Council argued that "reserving marriage to opposite-sex couples does not violate the fundamental right to marry protected by the due process clause [of the U.S. Constitution]."

Decisions in the two cases are expected later this year.